Updated: 04/01/2018 by Computer Hope

TildeAlternatively referred to as the squiggly or twiddle, the tilde is a character ( ~ ) on keyboards below the escape or Esc key and on the same key as the back quote that resembles a squiggly line. The graphic gives an representation of how the tilde may appear.

Where is the tilde key on the keyboard?

Below is an overview of a computer keyboard with the tilde key highlighted in blue.

Tilde key

How to create the ~ symbol

Creating the ~ symbol on a U.S. keyboard

To create the tilde symbol using a U.S. keyboard hold down the Shift key and press tilde key, which is on the same key as the back quote ( ` ) and directly below the Esc key in the top-left portion of the keyboard.

Creating the ~ symbol on a smartphone or tablet

To create a tilde on a smartphone or tablet open the keyboard and go into the numbers (123) and then (#+=) or symbols (sym) section and then press your finger on the ~ symbol.

What is a tilde is used for on a computer?

Below are a few examples of how and when the tilde is used.

  1. In languages such as Spanish and Portuguese, the tilde is a diacritical mark that is placed over a letter such as 'ñ' and 'ã' to help emphasize the letter.
  2. Shorten long file names in Microsoft Windows 95 above. For example, changing the "Program Files" directory to Progra~1.
  3. In regular expressions, the tilde can be used for pattern matching.
  4. In C programming languages, the ~ represents a bitwise NOT.
  5. Get to the home directory on a Linux computer (e.g., cd ~).
  6. Access the console in programs and games such as Quake.
  7. In mathematics, ~ is used to indicate an approximate number.
  8. Access to the Tilda GTK+ terminal emulator.

How to get a tilde above a letter

To get an tilde or other accent mark above a letter on keyboards without the key on the keyboard requires that you either use the character map or use the insert special character feature of the program.

Keyboard terms